Tag Archives: The First Hour

The first hour of Stacking will not blow your stack

I know the gaming industry is currently bloated and over-saturated with games based on hopping into Russian stacking matryoshka dolls and plots hanging on oppressive child labor and puzzles solved by flatulence, but if you could find it in your heart and busy schedule…please check out my coverage of Stacking‘s first hour. It’s a fun time. The game and the review.

I actually wrote that coverage some weeks back, and since then I’ve come to beat the game as a whole. That means I can speak a bit more about what happens after the “emphatic yes” answer to that oh-so-critical question at the end of the post. It’s not a terribly long game experience, but I padded Stacking out a bit by searching for special dolls, different answers to puzzles, performing hijinks, and generally just exploring the levels and looking at all the adorable details instead of immediately moving on with the storyline. There’s a lot to see and experiment with, and that’s part of the charm, that it is paced to your liking. Between this and Costume Quest, Double Fine has created some great “introductory” videogames for friends and family members that you might want to get interested in playing a game. They are safe and still quite rewarding.

Overall, story in Stacking is more about style than telling, which is a small slight. It’s predictable but acceptable, with a beginning, middle, and end, but it’s how it is presented via silent film style that really keeps you watching. Little Charles Blackmore meets a wide range of dolls, and the larger they are, the more intimidating. I think my favorite is Cromwell the Terrible, capable of giving anyone and nearly anything a royal wedgie. The final fights switch things up, requiring you to have previously paid attention to doll powers, as well as know how to play rock, paper, scissors. Nothing too challenging.

I do have another complaint to add though, one that is really only discovered in the later levels. Well, honestly, they are too big. Not in the sense that you can get easily lost, but when you have to traipse back to the beginning part to find one specific doll…it can really feel like a sojourn instead of a skip.

At some point, I’m gonna hop back in to clean up some Achievement-related tasks and give the DLC The Lost Hobo King a try. I am expecting more of the same–which is fine–but if the gameplay of “solve X puzzles to complete level” gets mixed up even the tiniest of bits…well, that’d be a great surprise. I’ll be sure to let y’all know.

Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden is like a joke

There’s a new Indie Impression up over at The First Hour, and I participated in it despite my disinterest in all things basketball-related. However, Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden is more than an annual sports romp; it’s a fan-made, freeware sequel to Barkley, Shut Up and Jam!, which was, by all accounts, a traditional two-on-two street basketball simulator for the SNES. Except the silly minds behind it created something truly unlikely: a post-apocalyptic basketball RPG.

Um…

I didn’t understand it and never even got to see a turn-based fight. I shut the game down when I…well, you’ll just have to go over to The First Hour and do some reading to see where Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden lost me. I have to imagine one would have to have both an interest in RPGs and basketball to really enjoy this Frankenstein’s monster, and that person is not me. However, when they ultimately make Barkley, Be Quiet and Tee Off: Redemption…please, please, let me know.

The Annals of Halgren slaughter goblins for an hour in Icewind Dale II

Well, now I can say I’ve played two Forgotten Realms videogames, and both turned out pretty uninspiring in my eyes. Which is strange, given the wide berth of fiction and fantasy they can draw from. I just don’t know. Maybe if I had played Icewind Dale II when it actually came out in 2002, back when I was eating up Diablo II and Commander & Conquer: Red Alert by the handful in my college dorm deep into early hours of the morning, I might have fallen madly in love with its high levels of customization and general openness. But it was not meant to be.

Anyways, click this very sentence to see how the first hour of Icewind Dale II panned out for me and my adventuring band.

At some point, I’ll be trying out The Temple of Elemental Evil, too…since it came free with my purchase of the game at hand. So long as there is less goblin-slaughtering in the first sixty minutes, I’ll be pleased.

Ain’t no broken cog in this machine called Cogs

There’s another Indie Impression up over at The First Hour, and it’s constructed around the steampunk-inspired puzzler known as Cogs. A number of the site’s writers put down their impressions and thoughts, including me, and it seemed like many enjoyed their time, even if they believe the game is better suited for a mobile phone than a PC platform. Seeing as I still live in the Dark Ages and use paper cups tied to strings to make long-distance calls, I like having it on Steam, as I can quickly move a puzzle around with the click of a mouse. But enough from me here; if you want my thoughts on building rockets, blowing steam, and turning cog wheels, head on over to The First Hour.

And here are some Steam Achievements, just because:


Apprentice: Complete 10 levels in Inventor Mode


Aptitude: Earn your first triple-gold award


Tinkerer: Earn 100 stars

Evidently there’s one for completing a puzzle in under five seconds. Yeah, sure. Okay, cogheads. Maybe if you’re like one of those androids from Ghost in the Shell, but I am not. Gah, now I’m depressed about my lack of robotics. But yeah, Cogs. It’s a puzzle game, and a fun one at that. I’ll be back at it some time soon, for sure.

Ghosts, grueling headaches, and retro graphics in The Blackwell Legacy

Another day, another little game discussed over at The First Hour for its new Indie Impression series. Just kidding. They have been nicely spaced out, though I’m sad I missed my chance to write about Cave Story+, but I was in crazy con-prepping mode and didn’t have an ounce of brainpower to spare elsewhere. Oh well. I do have thoughts on that game, especially considering I ended up buying it for my Nintendo 3DS despite having a working copy on Steam–I guess Skyrim is no longer the only game I now have doubles of–just to have gamepad controls, but I’ll write something up later on it, whether here or there or in your underwear. Wait, what? Nevermind.

Anyways, the game up for discussion this week is The Blackwell Legacy. It’s a point-and-click adventure game, no doubt. You point, you click, you observe. The mechanics are by-the-book, so it’s the story that really shines here, and from what I can gather, it’s a good mystery to unravel. Like a mix of The Sixth Sense and The Ghost Whisperer and maybe, uh, The Truth About Cats and Dogs. Rosa really reminds me of Janeane Garofalo. Plus, just like in L.A. Noire, you have a notebook of clues to try out on everyone; I love elements like that. You can read my quick thoughts on it, as well as Greg’s and Steve’s by clicking that link in the first sentence. Seems like Steve completed the whole adventure, while Greg and I only dipped our toes into the puzzle-limned water. I’ll be going back to Rosa this weekend as it’s a relaxing time, and I’ll need some relaxing after stressful car stuff is (hopefully) taken care of.

Back to blogging and videogame snogging

I did not plan to take two weeks off from blogging about videogames and giving Grinding Down love five days a week. Not one bit.

See, first things first, I was in a car accident. I was coming home from a work-hosted Christmas party, thinking about what gifts I still needed to buy for various family members when, without warning, a car slammed into my vehicle from behind at such a force that I screamed a sound I never knew existed within my being and bounced forward down the highway. I was doing around 65 mph; this person, who, with not much else to go on, I believe was drunk, had to be doing around 80 or 85 mph. They then drove off, leaving me on the side of Route 80, scared and uncertain. So I had to spend a few days dealing with that, as I was actually in a rental car at the time of impact and had to go to a police station, get an accident report, pick up my true car Bullet, and so on, so on, so on.

Then came the holidays themselves. This is the year I learned that, well, I’m not going to love the holidays as much after losing my mother to cancer last December. Makes sense, really, and so my depression surfaced to a magically new high. I played a lot of videogames, as I’m wont to do when down in that ditch, but I couldn’t get myself to write about them. I just hid in them and used them for quick hugs and abused them for ways to avoid all things real, all things scary. But I’m back now. I think. Yeah, hopefully. Gotta make the best out of this manic phase before I swing back low, right?

So, the year of 2011 has come and gone, and it’s that time for those Game of the Year roundups. I offered my picks over at The First Hour, naming…L.A. Noire as my Game of the Year! Yeah, woo. Play that game, y’all, if you haven’t yet. I also call out Bastion, Fallout: New Vegas, and Monster Tale as pretty great experiences, which should be obvious to anyone that follows this little blog here. I write about those games lots. Go check it out, even if Greg still doesn’t love exploring the Mojave Wasteland.

Throughout all this quiet time, I’ve played many, many games. Seriously, dear readers. A ton of ’em. Here’s just a few to whet your collective whistles: Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters, Saints Row: The Third, Rage, X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Pushmo, and Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island. Again, to name a few. There’s more. And I have a lot of blog posts bouncing around my rabbity head, so stay tuned. Cause I’m back at this. I hope.

Oh, and Happy New Year!

FIRST HOUR REVIEW – Suikoden III

Hey, remember when I drank a bunch of Felix Felicis and found a copy of Suikoden III recently? And then remember when I told the world how scared I was to even play it? Well, I finally did it. Play, that is. For sixty minutes and then some. Even took notes. You can read all about discolored used game discs, getting lost in the smallest village ever, and duck soldiers over at The First Hour.

I’ve played past Suikoden III‘s first hour, too. Thanks to Sergeant Joe, Hugo was able to schedule a meeting with the people doing business in Vinay del Zexay’s council building, but we have to wait at least a day; until then, the capital is ours for the exploring, and it’s a pretty big place, with lots of shops and citizens to speak with. Alas, Hugo’s not rich, so there’s not much to do. I’m guessing at some point I’ll sleep at an inn and go back for that meeting. At some point…

But yeah. Again, please check out my coverage of Suikoden III‘s first hour from Hugo’s chapters.